While not going so far as to call itself Chariots Of Fire II: God’s Own Athlete, The Last Race is aiming to serve as a kind of sequel to the Oscar-winning classic, telling more of Scottish runner Eric Liddell’s story. Joseph Fiennes is now in place to play the man himself.
Ian Charleson was Liddell in Chariots, and now Fiennes is aboard to star in The Last Race, which follows his life after the 1924 Paris Olympics and his work as a missionary in China. And that location gives a clue to where this new film is being backed – as it’ll have financial backing from Chinese companies and shoot in the country from a script by Stephen Shin, who also co-directs with Michael Parker. “It is not only the perfect movie theme, but it should also make younger generations more aware of their past,” Shin tells The Independent. “All around the world people gradually forget the importance of staying on alert so that dark parts of human history do not repeat themselves.”
Liddell’s story after his feted athletics career, found him returning to the country where he was born to two Christian missionaries to carry on their work. He worked as a teacher, met and married fellow Christian Florence Mackenzie and helped to build an athletics stadium modelled on Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. He continued his work even as Japan invaded China in 1937 and was eventually sent to an internment camp in 1943, where he died of a brain tumour.
Xiao Dou and Elizabeth Arends are set to co-star, and the film will be out next year.